January 9, 2018 // 11:12 a.m.
Intel and Micron have announced a euphemistically-titled 'update' for their flash memory joint venture, Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IM Flash Technologies), effectively going their separate ways and working on future generations of 3D NAND products independently.
Founded in 2006, IM Flash has been at the forefront of solid-state storage technologies since its inception. The company was the first with 50nm and sub-40nm NAND parts, frequently boasted of being the fastest around, and most recently announced 3D Xpoint memory with the promise that it could, one day, act as a universal replacement for both non-volatile storage and high-performance random-access memory.
Despite having recently expanded its fabrication facilities, however, IM Flash would appear to have an expiry date. In an announcement published late yesterday, Intel and Micron confirmed that they are to 'develop 3D NAND independently in order to better optimise the technology and products for their individual business needs' - effectively putting an end to a decade-strong partnership.
'Micron's partnership with Intel has been a long-standing collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to work with Intel on other projects as we each forge our own paths in future NAND development,' says Scott DeBoer, executive vice president of Micron's Technology Development division. 'Our roadmap for 3D NAND technology development is strong, and we intend to bring highly competitive products to market based on our industry-leading 3D NAND technology.'
'Intel and Micron have had a long-term successful partnership that has benefited both companies, and we've reached a point in the NAND development partnership where it is the right time for the companies to pursue the markets we're focused on,' adds Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. 'Our roadmap of 3D NAND and Optane [3D XPoint] technology provides our customers with powerful solutions for many of today's computing and storage needs.'
The companies state that they will continue development of 3D XPoint's third generation, due for release later this year, but beyond that will be working entirely independently. Neither reports any change to their development or release schedules, while both will continue to share the 3D XPoint-dedicated fab in Utah.